I rinse my arms and face, water drops on where he lost himself last night and I shout my intent to live for another day for God,
the bed sheets pull me back, the same bed sheets your mother whirled around a year ago with oud, the same bed sheets they checked after our first night, remember that one? We didn’t touch. You told me you could keep a secret so I cut a bit of palm and pretended the loss of what your family thought I was, the girl who wouldn’t look out when cleaning the windows, the girl whose skirts were never stained.
Your brother prays beneath your mother’s feet but lifts mine over his neck,
I serve you tea, pose next to you in Eid portraits and engraved the black in my eyes for him.
His scent is all over me when you come back from night prayers to wake me up at dawn and ask me “Did anyone hear you two?”
Every single dawn, you ask me that, even in the nights were you can’t face your God and spend hours smoking beneath our bedroom’s window.
Every single dawn, you would go and wake him up with a lowered head,
and I never look at you, while knowing you could hear the gold around my ankles, that when eyes shut, your left ear’s problem is gone.
When eyes shut, you can hear the echo of the anklet bells that he shook in your bed room.
Your brother touched me first a year ago, when the zipper of my wedding dress was stuck and the house was empty, they were all out celebrating you.
The madman, the drunk whose mother worked too hard to love, the one who never looked up out of the shame of not being able to hear enough,
so they wanted to marry you off, and whose door could they dare to knock other than the one whose father was too shaken by hearing too much of people’s stories about the girls of the night?
They told me I would love you, that even if I cried when you touch me for the first time, you wouldn’t hear me and embarrass me, your left ear was almost deaf.
They didn’t know that my father’s shame of me filled me with nothing but hunger for someone who would want nothing but to hear my voice.
And that’s why I took my wedding dress off for your brother, because when I went to him with a broken zipper, he refused to try to fix it without hearing my name first.
Every night he fills me whole and I end up praying louder at dawn, after every dawn prayer, you continue in pretending and tell me “I think my left ear can hear better now.”